Back to the drawing board.
I sprayed my tomatoes, tomatillos, eggplant, peppers, and potatoes with copper sulfate today, hoping to put a choke on the late blight. Unfortunately, the basil is right next to the tomatoes and it was impossible to avoid spraying the leaves.
So much for pesto for dinner tonight.
I shouldn’t be surprised
given the ungodly heat, humidity, wind, and rain of the last week, but I’m still bummed that my tomatoes, potatoes, and tomatillos all have blight on them.
fuckity fuck fuck.
A little progress
I’m drenched and it didn’t even rain on me, it’s just so incredibly humid out there. I waited until the sun dipped behind the trees then grabbed an ice cold Stella and hit the garden by the driveway. I did a crappy job of mulching that garden last year, so the grass had grown back into it pretty thick. I intended to pull it all back out a couple of days ago, but Chris dumped all of the grass clippings from the last mowing into it, so I just layered that about 8” thick on top of the mess, then another layer of half-rotted straw on top of that.
Directly into the tall rows, I planted:
- 9 San Marzano Paste Tomatoes
- 9 French Marigolds
- 6 Genovese Basil
- 3 Purple Globe Eggplant
- 2 Cayenne Pepeprs
- 2 Sweet Red Bell Peppers
Still have three times that amount of space left to build layers on or turn over, whichever I happen to have the energy or materials on hand to manage. Still so very many plants hanging out on the front porch, outgrowing their pots. Still a ridiculous amount of seeds desperate for soil, water, and sun. Well, the seeds aren’t necessarily desperate. That’s probably me.
I would have done more, but the mosquitoes chased me back into the air conditioning. Yes, I finally caved to the humidity and turned it on today after I made the market run, took my MIL food shopping, and picked up 100 lbs of chicken feed and six bales of straw at the feed store, to find the inside of my house at 83 degrees.
This beer sure tastes good.
Dear Tumblr, please let us reblog message replies
Taiss gave such an incredibly thoughtful and helpful response to my gardening cry for help that it made me cry more, but in a joyful way. And then I went into the fenced garden and added composted cow manure to some small beds and stuck seeds in the ground. I planted Boston Pickling Cukes, French Heirloom Gherkin Cukes, Purple and Green Pole Beans, Zucchini, and my Zinnia plants. It’s a start. Because that bed has a mole problem (my poor strawberries…or should I say poor me not being able to eat all of those amazing, plump, ruby berries), I won’t plant any root veggies in it. Hopefully I can find a solution to the moles that doesn’t entail letting the turd-burgling cats inside the fence.
The husband is feeling mighty validated that Taiss says I need not rototill before the sheet mulch. We’ll try this method and worst case scenario, it’s at least a start to beds for next year. Hopefully the tomatoes, beans, peppers, eggplants and summer squash do well, but if not…onward, ho.
Again, thank you so very much for your amazingly kind and generous spirit. You totally turned my day around and gave me much to consider as I sit on the deck sipping a glass of chilled dry wine.
oh, and also: I am definitely trying his L-shaped fencing suggestion instead of trenching and burying it in a most haphazard fashion like I did for the one in the back yard. Hopefully the chicken wire along the ground stops the bleeding groundhogs from digging under. A pox on their house if they find a way in anyway…oh wait… they live under MY HOUSE. Never mind, I take that back!
There has to be a better way
I’m overwhelmed and annoyed with myself for not getting the new garden bed sheet mulched in the fall when I had an abundance of leaves. We tried to rototill the spot today and couldn’t even get the tines to grab into the sod, or into the soil where we dug some of the sod away in an attempt to give it a little tooth to hold onto. Granted, there’s something wrong with this old Troy-Bilt and Chris has taken it apart several times to no avail. He’s a gear-head and then some, and I’ve never seen him so frustrated with a machine.
Now I’m scouring the internet looking for somebody offering rototilling services with a rear-mounted tiller on a tractor. If I can get someone to do a good job of at least tearing the top layer apart, then I can sheet mulch my six beds inside the bounds of the fence with thick books of hay and straw, then plant directly into that and supplement with alfalfa meal to make up for the nitrogen loss from the mulch rotting. We still have wood chips to line the paths between the beds, which should help keep weeds down as long as I put them on top of a thick layer of wet newspaper.
But, at this rate I’m not going to be able to plant for at least another week, probably more. We just had two hours of heavy rain and the forecast for the week looks about like that. Many chances for thunderstorms. AND NOTHING MUCH PLANTED. My one fenced garden apparently has a mole or vole or ten enjoying my first ever crop of strawberries. Every single ripe berry has at least half of it eaten. So much for the strawberry rhubarb pie I planned to make tonight.
That bed is also up against the edge of the woods and all of the thorny, vine-like invasive weeds encroach into the beds more every day. We have a severe neighborhood bug problem – the four-lined beetle, which sucks the juice out of all of the leaves of almost everything I have planted thus far. They’re also destroying all mint, lemon balm, oregano, parsley and thyme.
I don’t know when gardening turned into this war I wage and lose every day of the season. I could cry. Again. I have seven flats of plants waiting on my front porch and not enough room to plant them all until I make the new beds in the sunny stretch of yard next to the driveway. I’m supposed to be good at this, but I swear each year I’m ten steps behind where I was the year before.
I’m sure it started when I went back to work. When I left the job to work from home, I imagined I’d have so much more time for getting my domestic geek on. If anything, I have even less time because now I tend to just work all the time. Chris’ business hit the rocks, but hasn’t sunk to the ocean floor yet, and I’m doing all the heavy-lifting in terms of supporting us and have been for just about a year.
For days I’ve wandered around in the hideous heat mumbling under my breath, I give up. Fuck this shit. Why do I even bother to try? And then I get a little bit of energy and attack another area, and then notice flea beetles starting in on the broccoli seedlings that I finally got protected from the groundhogs.
I think I’m at war with myself. I want to be able to do it all. I miss gardening the way I did when we lived out in the shit-sticks. I made detailed plans and I spent a lot of time in meditation asking the plants and the land and faeries or whatever if my plans made sense to them. And yes, they answered. Then I made adjustments and I had a lot less issues with critters and pests. Now it’s like hit-and-run gardening. Just shove it in wherever I can and hope for the best. My whole system is faulty and out of balance and it’s getting worse instead of better. Every time I make what I hope and assume is a corrective measure, it sets another whole bunch of problems into motion.
I used to love gardening and now it’s giving me chest pains. How do I fix it?